ERIC Number: EJ793432
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jun
Reference Count: 0
Children's Sensitivity to Circular Explanations
Baum, Laura A.; Danovitch, Judith H.; Keil, Frank C.
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, v100 n2 p146-155 Jun 2008
The ability to evaluate the quality of explanations is an essential part of children's intellectual growth. Explanations can be faulty in structural ways such as when they are circular. A circular explanation reiterates the question as if it were an explanation rather than providing any new information. Two experiments (N=77) examined children's preferences when faced with circular and noncircular explanations. The results demonstrate that a preference for noncircular explanations is present, albeit in a fragile form, by 5 or 6 years of age and that it appears robustly by 10 years of age. Thus, the ability to evaluate the quality of explanations based on structural grounds appears to develop rapidly during the elementary school years.
Descriptors: Children, Cognitive Ability, Cognitive Development, Persuasive Discourse, Evaluative Thinking
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
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